“…I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Joel 2:28, New International Version
I tend to dream rather vividly. These dreams feel very real and memorable, they are usually full of people who I know and care about, and these dreams can be realistic. I wake up regularly with a person or two immediately in my thoughts – and sometimes those thoughts turn into Spirit led prayer (sometimes those thoughts don’t turn into prayer, because sometimes I let my distractions get the better of me before my feet have even hit the floor, just to be honest. But that’s not what this post is about). Sometimes, at the very least, I remember to reach out to that person later in the day to let them know I am thinking of them and that I care, only to learn that they needed to hear that at that very moment. God is constantly at work in us and through us when we live in surrender to the Holy Spirit.
So, the other day I woke up from a dream I was having about church. It felt like our church, but it was different. The background was different, the classrooms and the surroundings were all different. But most of the people were the same. We were assembled for worship on a Sunday morning, and were having what seemed like Sunday school classes before service… but we don’t have Sunday school at LifePoint, so you may be able to understand my confusion here. I was teaching the children. I wasn’t alone in teaching, there were others alongside me. And we taught these children together. As we were teaching the class, children just kept coming in. One right after another. Some were older, some were younger, all were eager to learn about Christ. It was beautiful. This influx of people was occurring throughout the entire church building. People were seeking Jesus and were hungry to know Him more.
In the middle of our classes something seemingly frightening happened. We came under attack. I don’t know who the enemy was, but there was a war and we were being invaded. The kids and the teachers, we all huddled together during the moment of danger. The other classes did the same. There were loud noises, planes flying overhead, gunfire all around us, and destruction was falling. However, through the attack there was no fear. There was no physical retaliation either. We remained huddled together, waiting for the war to pass, trusting in Jesus to hold us through the battle. When it ended, we picked up right back where we had left off, seeking Christ and worshiping Him through teaching and learning. We knew we weren’t out of the woods and that another attack could happen at any moment, but we were purposeful in our pursuit of Jesus and didn’t stray or waiver. The same scenario played out multiple times in my dream, and we stood firm through every attack.
I woke up that morning to my husband waking me to get ready for the day. I found myself wishing I could reenter that dream. It was Sunday morning, and I wanted to go to that church, the one that stood firm under attack. Not my actual church.
Now, let me pause for a moment to say that I love LifePoint. I am so blessed to be a part of this ministry. I love each and every family who makes up our church family. When we were vacationing in Tennessee a couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to worship at my in-law’s church. We can worship anywhere, but there’s always something about coming home that just feels right. I had been looking forward to worshiping at LifePoint all week. But then that dream happened, and there was something about what our church was in that dream that made it hard for me to not roll over and go back to sleep, back to that church. There was something about it that made me want to stay.
In the middle of war. In the middle of danger. The perseverance and hunger for more of Christ that I felt there seemed so real, so perfect. I wanted more of that church.
I mulled over that dream all day. I kept it to myself, prayed over what it could have meant. Finally, as Brad and I were laying down at the end of the day, I told him about my dream. About my uncertainty of what it meant; was it prophetic of true physical warfare to come against the church? Or was it more like a metaphor of spiritual warfare? And I told him the part that got to me the most was that I found myself wanting to stay there.
We talked about the possibilities – of how he has visions himself of the church, and how we, the church (corporately, on a large national/international/interdenominational scale) won’t really come out of our comfort and complacency until we are facing true persecution. That we struggle to feel a true fire and passion for Jesus, and struggle sharing Jesus, as we sit in our comfortable Christianity. We are missing out on a deeper faith and following of Jesus: speaking His truth, sharing His love, sensing an urgency to see lives saved from the depths of hell, pushing through the adversity we face and persevering through it all no matter the circumstances. Kind of like that which 1 Peter 4 speaks to….
“But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” 1 Peter 4:13-16, New International Version
And we talked about how it could be a vision of things to come, or even things that are already occurring. We battle so much, all of us, daily. Consider what we know from Ephesians of the importance of bearing the armor of God as we stand firm and fight the good fight for the glory of God…
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:12-17, New International Version
What I really came away from our conversation with was this, that as followers of Christ, our hunger should never be fully satisfied. At least not here, not in this life. We should always feel a growl from deep within us (or maybe in our dreams) that pulls us out of contentment with how far God has brought us, and that pulls us closer to our Savior, that pushes us to be purposeful in mission. You see, it wasn’t that I wanted to escape reality and remain in that dream forever, it was that I wanted to be with my Lord, always drawing closer to Him, always pursuing His heart the way that He pursues mine. I wanted to worship with others who want to worship Him more. I wanted to stand firm through the fire, united with others in spirit and in truth.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18, New International Version
God is still at work in us! Let us continually chase after Jesus with all that we have, covering each other in prayer, trusting in the victory He has already won and will one day reign over all souls.
Our church, the church, can be that church.